Ford Beats Expectations, Boosted by New Car Models

Ford Motor Corp
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Ford Motor reported quarterly earnings and revenue that surpassed analysts' expectations on Wednesday as its North American unit posted its best quarter in more than a decade on the strength of new models.

After the earnings announcement, Ford stock inched higher in trading after the opening bell. (Click here see what Ford's stock is doing after earnings).

Net income was $1.6 billion, or 40 cents per share, up from $1.4 billion a year earlier.

The automaker posted first-quarter earnings excluding items of 41 cents per share, up from 39 cents a share in the year-earlier period.

Revenue increased to $35.8 billion from $32.4 billion a year ago. Revenue in North America, the company's largest market, shot up by one-fifth during the quarter.

Analysts had expected Ford to report earnings excluding items 37 cents per share on revenue of $33.78 billion, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

The second-largest U.S. automaker said its European restructuring was on track.

The company said it still expected to lose $2 billion in Europe this year. Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks told reporters that recent economic data in the region painted a cloudy picture of when Europe would eventually rebound.

In North America, Ford's pretax profit reached its highest level since at least 2000, when it began reporting the region as a separate unit. The company posted a $2.4 billion profit there, with sales volume up 17 percent.

Ford posted a $462 million loss in Europe, reflecting higher costs and the economic downturn's impact on consumer demand for new cars and trucks. In South America, Ford lost $218 million due to unfavorable exchange rates particularly in Venezuela.

In the Asia Pacific/Africa, Ford earned $6 million. In China, Ford's market share was 3.6 percent in the first quarter.

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated Ford's revenue was $33.9 billion during the quarter. In fact, the company's revenue was $35.8 billion.